We skied Golden Horn, 13,780 ft. last weekend, down in the stunning Ice Lakes Basin area of the San Juans. The valley is a favorite of ours, in the summer months it’s all about the wildflowers, alpine lakes and scrambles on high 13ers. In the spring the same cool peaks offer really good skiing.
In addition to the summer backpacks to climb the local summits, and the numerous trips through here along the Hardrock 100 course, we visited the area back in 2013 to ski nearby Vermillion Peak as part of our Centennial Ski Project. On that trip we caught a glimpse of neighboring Golden Horn and knew we would be back someday to ski it as well.
That day also happened to be Easter Sunday, one of Christy’s many favorite days of the year (there are many), and she decided to mix some Easter festivities into the outing– chocolate bunnies and a makeshift Easter bonnet in particular. I mean why wouldn’t you?
Like a lot of San Juan peaks, Golden Horn has some interesting geology and when you see it dry you almost wonder if it would be skiable at all. The triangular peak is a sheer wall on two sides, and a large, steep, triangular face on the other. Luckily for skiers, that latter face holds snow most of the way to its airy summit, which is of course was the way we went.
It’s been a really warm spring, and our day on Golden Horn was no exception. By the time we got to the summit the south facing snow on our ski line was getting really soft so our time up top was short. Just enough to look around at the other nearby peaks we’d like to ski in the future, eat a chocolate Easter bunny, and get going.